Sunday, February 10, 2008

And I thought the ice cold showers and paper-thin towels were bad: "Hostel"

Ah yes, time for some good old torture porn. Isn't that what they're calling this new wave of ultraviolent horror flicks -- the "Saw" movies and the like? I recall "Hostel" being in theaters but knew I was above the target demographic: 17-24 year-old mouth-breathers whose only movie-watching criteria are killing and boobies. Still, I'm not so proud that I wouldn't watch this on cable, simply to see what all the fuss was about this collaboration between Eli Roth ("Cabin Fever") and Quentin Tarantino (video store clerk).

Our story opens with a trio of young travelers -- two Americans and an Icelander -- living it up in Amsterdam (as required by local law). Despite having a grand old time, the kids are due to ship out for Barcelona soon. Not so fast, a young European man tells them. If you want hot, easy women -- "No, no thank you very much" -- you should go to Slovakia, he says. They're nuts for Americans there, man!

Surprisingly, our heroes need no further convincing, and they're soon on a train east. After meeting a weird guy on board, they arrive in Slovakia and soon find it very much as their friend said. Why, there are even hot, naked women in our room! What's Slovakian for "Score!"?

A night of revelry leads to an exchange of bodily fluids and most likely STDs, but sadly, this paradise can't last. First, the Icelander has gone missing, and another night of revelry leads to even worse tidings for the dynamic duo from the States. Soon we learn that this hostel isn't just another place for travelers to rest their weary heads. Grim tidings, indeed.

To say more could be considered ruining the "story," although we're not talking about "The Sixth Sense" here. Rather, there's all sorts of blood, evisceration, dismemberment, etc., etc. Yes, it's all quite gruesome. Yes, it's pretty silly. Yes, I felt more than a little stupid for watching it.

But you know what? This movie actually wasn't all bad. Not sure I'd say it was "not bad." OK, I guess it's bad. But I didn't dislike it as much afterward as I did while watching it. Hard to explain, I guess, but it you accept this as popcorn horror and pick up on a few sly parts, it's almost tolerable.

Some examples: a recurring gang of violent little kids, a smug American businessman, this funny quote: "Aren't there any Dutch people in Amsterdam?" Is this enough to make "Hostel" a good horror movie? Probably not, and certainly not on par with "Halloween" or one of my personal faves, "The Omen." ("It's all for you, Damien!!!") But it could have been worse. And oh yes, there are those boobies, courtesy of some smokin' Eastern European babes. God bless America ...


At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but I cannot lower my standards (coming from someone that stayed up to 3am watching Buckaroo Bonzai) to watch this type of movie. These types of movies proves that purchasing power of 15-19yr male.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Jefferson said...

I'll kindly ask you to refer to that very excellent movie by its full title: "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension." While the sequel -- "Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League" -- never materialized, the original is fantastic. Great movie, great cast, great music, great everything.

And remember, no matter where you go ... there you are.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, "Hostel" and "The Apple" in one weekend. Two of my favorites. One is torture porn and I think watching the other qualifies as torture porn.


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